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ADD/ADHD Symptoms in Adults and Children

ADHD and ADD (a subtype of ADHD – a term now considered redundant) have a specific number of symptoms that help make a clinical diagnosis of the condition. It is a combination of these symptoms that helps reach the diagnosis, guiding therapists towards administering the right course of treatment.

In this article, we shall briefly discuss about the different symptoms of ADHD.


Before discussing the symptoms of ADHD and ADD, it is important to recognise the different types of ADHD. It is classified as –

  1. Inattentive ADHD (also called ADD)
  2. ADHD with hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour
  3. Combined type ADHD – The most common type.


Most of the research that has been conducted in ADHD has been in children, and therefore the symptoms are better described in children.

Symptoms of ADHD in children

There are 3 main features in ADHD in children –
  1. Impulsive behaviour – Here the child tends to act without patience, performing activities that can even harm them. They tend to interrupt conversations a lot, and may also perform activities that are against their nature.
  2. Hyperactivity – Here, the child is unable to stop talking, is always fidgety, is unable to sit quietly in one place and demonstrates constant movement of some kind.
  3. Inattentiveness – This feature can be the sole feature of ADHD, and is called ADD. Characteristic features include a reduced attention span and easily distracted. They tend not to perform tasks that can take time and fail to maintain any level of concentration when asked to perform tasks. In addition, they cannot listen or perform tasks that are instructed clearly.

The combined form has features of all these. The impact on the child can be fairly intense, parents will find that they are not performing well at school or do not interact well in social circumstances. Children with ADHD also tend to suffer from learning difficulties along with depression.

Symptoms of ADHD in adults

Diagnosing ADHD is harder in adults due to the lack of extensive research. From the available information, ADHD often occurs in childhood and carries on to adulthood. Some of the symptoms such as hyperactivity tend to disappear, though others can get worse. Adults can have mood swings and can be fairly restlessness. A plethora of other symptoms also occur, including complete disregard for their own safety and that of others. Social situations can be awkward for patients and people involved due to constant interruptions and temper control issues. Associated features such as depression may also be present.

ADHD and ADD present with a variety of symptoms as is seen above. A combination of these symptoms can help make a definitive diagnosis so that appropriate treatment can be offered.

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